“The devil is in the details” according to author P.D. Alleva in his novel Golem. This phenomenal book starts off with a phenomenal plot. A detective story, a horrific nightmare, a thriller, a view into the occult, and the spiraling of insanity all rolled up onto one package called Golem. As newly-badged Detective John Ashton digs deeper into a very public missing child case, he digs up much more than he bargained for and much more than even he believes. This novel is a journey into the darkest and most vile parts of horror and personally, I couldn’t put it down. As the the story races forward, the plot that Alleva reveals gets more and more intriguing as the devils in the dark swallow everything.
There are not a ton of characters in this novel (nor does there need to be) and the characters there are, are very memorable. Alleva stays away from from overused cliches while creating characters we care for, cheer for, pity, fear, and loath. John Ashton, the protagonist, is so well developed in his humanity that it is difficult not to feel for him as he swims through the confusion of reality brought on my his first case as a detective. He is flawed yet heroic, weak yet determined, and out to prove to himself more than anything that he is capable…just like we all do.
The other characters were just as strong, each was individual and diverse. Alleva did a great job of really making the characters mean something and each, even the smaller roles, added so much to the story.
This novel is absolutely entertaining! It is a huge story that is reigned in perfectly by how Alleva writes it. There is so much going on with this novel that it would have been easy to get lost in the visuals, the developments, the different time periods, the growth of characters and events, but Allva never loses site of the story he is telling. The novel really shines in how it grows. Each page only made me want to get to the next page faster as the story burned into a nightmarish climax. Working through the growth of Golem, his process, and the development of the novel it really felt like a journey. Alleva has not only concocted a true horror tale, but presented it in the perfect way with his writing.
The only critique that I have is that there were things that were difficult to read. Everything was so vivid that it made the difficult things even harder to read. There is a graphic content warning here and I recommend reading that before reading the book. However, I must also say that there was nothing gratuitous. At no point did I feel like there was anything in there simply for shock value end each difficult part was integral to the plot and the horror of the novel.
When the end of 2021 comes and I do my list of best horror book I have read this year, Golem will be very high on that list. I absolutely recommend it and am sure that you will all love it as much as I did! From the press release: Fans of The Silence of the Lambs, Clive Barker, John Connolly, old Stephen King, and Anne Rice will be fascinated by this edge of your seat psychological horror thriller with a story that tears out the heart of humanity and throws it on a slab to be feasted on. Go here and grab a copy as soon as you can!
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